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Ten-year-old reluctant to do schoolwork


My 10-year-old daughter does not do her schoolwork. How can I change this behavior so that she will learn her coursework and succeed in school?



In order to turn your daughter’s academic performance around, you will need to discover why she refuses to do her work. A particular subject could be frustrating her, or she might be stressed about something else that is happening in her life. 

How long has this behavior been going on? When did it start? Is she only refusing to do her schoolwork? Is there one subject in particular that is giving her trouble?  Is her behavior similar at home? Is she experiencing peer problems, or is something else bothering her? Are her friends exhibiting similar behaviors? Finding the answers to these questions will help you pinpoint why she refuses to do her work. The answers will form the basis of your plan.  

Sometimes there simply isn’t a reason why a child refuses ​to do her work. If this is the case (and this is rare), then a serious conversation must take place between you and your daughter. Include her teacher or anyone else she admires and who has her best interests at heart if you feel that would be beneficial. 

Set up a system of rewards and consequences. Explain to her that she will lose privileges and luxuries each time she demonstrates a lack of responsibility by not completing her work to the best of her ability. Make the consequences really count so that she gets the message that this is very serious. Focus on things that are truly meaningful to her. Losing these types of privileges will hopefully change the behavior quickly and prevent future infractions from occurring.  

Consistency is essential. Even when she is improving, stick with whatever predetermined consequences you have established for her. Don’t let her backslide. The minute you do not follow through with administering a consequence, she will believe that she can manipulate you. You want to be in control, not her.

But first, try to discover why she refuses to do her work and address that issue.  When you do, chances are that her work ethic will improve.